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Cattelan: “Picasso is an elderly cat with clipped ears.”

In 1998, Italian conceptual artist Maurizio Cattelan hired an actor to put on a Disney-mascot-sized Picasso head and the painter’s signature striped shirt and then hang out, jingling a cup of coins, near the MoMA entrance. At the time he said he liked “the contradiction of Picasso begging,” but offered little more on the subject. […]

cattelan2.jpg

In 1998, Italian conceptual artist Maurizio Cattelan hired an actor to put on a Disney-mascot-sized Picasso head and the painter’s signature striped shirt and then hang out, jingling a cup of coins, near the MoMA entrance. At the time he said he liked “the contradiction of Picasso begging,” but offered little more on the subject. Notorious for his pranks, Cattelan doubtless had an intent that hovered somewhere between homage, critique, and a joke at the art world’s expense.

In preparation for the Walker’s June 16 opening of the Whitney-organized exhibition Picasso and American Art — which features Picasso’s art alongside work by artists including de Kooning, Pollock, Johns, Warhol, and others — I asked Cattelan to share his musings on Picasso’s impact. His emailed reply, a lengthy list of lines that began “Picasso is,” appeared to be either the result of free association or of a Google search of the phrase. Here’s an excerpt from that email:

picasso is deadcattelan-sm.jpg

picasso is missing

picasso is a communist

picasso is an elderly cat with clipped ears

picasso is a docudrama and immortal beloved is a tragedy

picasso is not the sort of car that leaps to mind when you think ‘road trip’

picasso is not the world

picasso is the only artist i know of that is mentioned in a devo song

picasso is 20th century art

picasso is one of the rare gold

picasso is being picky about eating and seems to be sulking

picasso is the greatest artist of the twentieth century

picasso is situated in the heart of historic paris

picasso is also equipped with a wealth of stowage space

picasso is much more controversial than Rembrandt

picasso is born in malaga in 1881 and died in the south of france in 1973

picasso is rather unique

picasso is a struggling artist

picasso is a feature film written and directed by stephen kijak with an ensemble cast including alexis arquette

picasso is a registered domain trade name of max corporation

picasso is not shown to have a remorseful bone in his body

picasso is known for his etchings

picasso is an interactive drawing tool in the style of unix idraw or macdraw

picasso is considered by most authorities as the greatest artist of the 20th century

picasso is soon to become a reality

picasso is the name of this ladybird

picasso is built in vigo

picasso is the greatest art genius of the twentieth century

picasso is a coloring book and creativity package for children

picasso is a womanizer

picasso is a 1994 westphalian gelding

picasso is interesting because everything about his life is related to his art

picasso is classified as a refined

Join us for the Picasso preview party, June 15. Images courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery.

  • frank says:

    maurizio is.. not interesting anymore.

  • Angie B says:

    Neither a Cattelan free association nor a Google search, Cattelan’s response to your e-mail is more Googlism than anything else: http://www.googlism.com/index.htm?ism=picasso&type=1

  • Paul Schmelzer says:

    You’re right! It’s like a readymade for the Google age.

  • Paul Schmelzer says:

    Which part, Martin?

  • coyote blanco says:

    From Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In series. ” Very interesting, but ……”

    Is Picasso relavent to Artist today?

    Happy Face day to you and your mom.